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THE . . . 




Thrice Greatsst Hbrmes (3 vols.) - 30/- 


Dm jBSos Live loo B.C. ? - - - • 9/- 
TsE World-Mystery ;/- 


Apoiaonios OP TvANA 3/6 

IHB Upanishads (2 vols.) - - - - 3/- 

r%oTiNU8 1/- 



FROM G. R. S. 










PWINT-^o ;v ,.--.-. SRirAlC 


Under this general title is now beil^ published 
a series of small volumes, drawn from, or based 
upon, the mystic, theosophic and gnostic writings 
of the aacieats, so as to make more easily audible 
for the ever-widening circle of thuse who love such 
things, some echoes of the mystic csperienees and 
initiatory lore of their spiritual ancestry. There 
are many who love the life of the spirit, and who 
Inng for the light of gnostic ttluniluation, hut who 
are not sufficiently equipped to study the writings 
of the ancients at first hand, or to follow un- 
aided the labours of scholars. These little volumes 
are therefore intended to -serve a;; introduction 
to the study of the more difficult literature of the 
subject ; and it is hoped that at the same time 
tliey may become for some, who have as yet not 
even heard of the Gnosis, stepping-stones to 
higher things. 

*•' G. R. S. M. 





1- H.T<-10IC 


Vol,. I. 


Voi„ II. 



vot. in. 



Vot. IV. 



Vol. V. 



Vol. VI. 











Vol,, X. 










Prbamblk 9 

Translations ig 

From the Greek Version . . . . . . 19 

From the Catholicized Syriac Text , , . . aa 

From the Later Armenian Version . . . . 26 

Comments a? 

Syrian Wedding Festivities . ■ . . . . 17 

The Song of Songs . . , . ■ • . . 18 

The Sacred Marriage in the Kabalah . . 3a 

In the Writings of Fhilo Judaeiu .. , , jf 

In the New Testament 46 

Wisdom . . . . . . . . . . • ■ 51 

The Sacred Marriage in Christian Gnosticism 67 
In the Trismegistic Gnosis .. .. ..78 

Id the Chaldxan Oracles .. .. ..80 

In the Mithriac Mysteries . . . . . . 84 

The Seven . . , . , , , . . . 88 

The Choir of the Moat 94 



Thilo (J. C), Acta S. Thoma Apostelt (Leipeig, 1823). 

Wright (W). Apocryphal Ads 0/ the Aposlla (London, 
1871), ii. 150-153. 

Noldecke (T.), Rev. of Wright, Ziihchfifi ier dtutschen 
mot^entAndischtit Gtseitscka/t (1871), pp 670 ff. 

Macke (K), " SyriscJie Lieder gnostischen Ursprungs. 
Eine Studio iiber die apocryphen syrischen 
Thom asacte n , " Tkeokgische Qua rSatsch rift (Tubin- 
gen. 1874), pp. 1 ff. 

Lipsius (R. A). Die apocryphm Apoitdgischkhten «, 
AposltUegeadtn (Brunswick, 1883, 1884), i. pp. 
301 ff. 

Bonnet (M.), Acta Aptistokrvm Apocrypha (edd, Lipsiu* 
et Bonnet), vol. ii., pt. ii. (Leipzig, igoj). 

Hoffmann (G.), " Zwei Hyranen der Thoraasakten," 
Zcitsekrifl Jiir die ntuiisiammtUchs Wineitschaft 
(Giessen, 1903), vol. iv. pp. 395 — 309. 

Preuschen (E.), Zwti gneitiickt Hymnm (Giessen, 

Burkitt (F. C), Review of Preuschen, Tkmlogisch 
Tijdschrifi (Amsterdam), May, rgos, pp, syo— 282. 

F. — Mead (G. R. S). FtagmuKti of a Faith FofgoittH 
(and. ed., London, 1906). 

H. = Mead (G. R. S.), TkfUt Gttattst Htma 
(London, igo6). 



The Hymn which forms the subject of 
this little volume has no traditional title. 
Like The Hymn of the Robe of Glory, 
which foiTTied the last of these Echoes, 
it is found in the Syriac Acis of Judas 
Thomas, where it is put in the mouth of 
the Apostle who is said, on his travels, to 
have been guest of honour at a bridal 

In addition to the Syriac we have a 
Greek text which is plainly a translation. 
The Greek is in prose, but the Syriac for 
the most part in verses of twelve syllables, 
in couplets, "just like The Hymn of the 
Robe 'of Glory. As Macke tells us (p. 17), 
where the Greek and Syriac agree the 



verses are oi six syllables ; or more 
correctly, as Burkitt has pointed out 
(p. 277), normally 6 + 6, but sometimes 
5+7- Moreover, the Greek can be trans- 
lated back into metred Syriac where 
the present Syriac departs from the 

An Armenian version also existed, of 
which, unfortunately, we now possess 
only the opening and closing lines. 

All scholars agree that the original 
Hymn was composed in SjTiac ; but is 
our Syriac text as it stands the original ? 
It plainly is not ; it has been " over- 
worked," as the Germans call it, by an 
editor, and that too, to serve certain 
theological interests, while the scraps of 
the Armenian version show that it in its 
turn had been still further over-worked. 

The first thing that strikes the careful 
reader is that where the Greek differs 
most widely from the Syriac, there the 
Syriac has been " over-worked," for it 
is precisely in such places that the metre 
is broken, It is again precisely in these 

passages that the Greek is strongly 
Gnostic, while the Syriac is as strongly 

It is thereiore to be concluded, with 
all reasonable certainty, that the Greek 
preserves the original Syriac more closely, 
and that this original Syriac was the 
composition of a Gnostic poet. 

As to this, there has been an unbroken 
consensus of opinion from Thilo {Ada 
Tkomce, p. 121 ff.) onwards ; but lately 
{1905), Professor Burkitt has put forward 
another view. He first of all remarks 
(p. 270), that the contents and styles of 
the two Hymns, the Bridal Song and the 
Hymn of the Robe, are so different that 
they must be treated entirely apart from 
one another ; and with this I am quite 
disposed to agree. Dr. Burkitt, however, 
goes on to say (p. 278} : " I venture to 
think that the Bridal Ode is an integral 
part of the Acts of Thomas, and that it 
was composed for the very position which 
it now occupies," and further to contend 
that it is not a Gnostic Hymn, but quite 




in keeping with the early " orthodoxy 
of the Syriac Church. 

Professor Burkitt would himself admit 
that his belief (p. 282), that the " theo- 
logy of the Hymn would pass as orthodox 
when judged by the standard of the 
early Syriac-speaking Church," is difficult 
of proof, uidess we allow that that 
" orthodoxy " is referable to a time 
when " Gnostic " and " Catholic " were 
still intermingled. 

His main contention is that " Gnos- 
ticism" is "intellectual" and not "moral," 
and that the whole atmosphere of the 
Thomas-Acts is the latter and not the 
former. Preuschen strongly argues the 
contrary, and shows that the main pre- 
occupation of the Gnostics was the 
scheme of moral salvation and not an 
intellectual science, and with this I fully 
agree ; for the whole of the Gnosis 
appears to me to have been of the nature 
of a vital realization mystically conceived, 
operated chiefly by a moral * conversion 
or regeneration, and not a rational system 


of knowledge of the nature of a science ; ™^_,f„-, 
and I do not see how the Gnosis can song of 
possibly be understood on any but the WISDOM, 
former hypothesis. 

Among the apocryphal religious ro- 
mances The Acts of Thomas have ^^ 
hitherto been regarded as strongly tine- ^H 
tured with Gnosticism. The Ads of ^H 
Thomas were, I hold, originally Gnostic ; H 
but have since passed through the hands H 
of Cathohc editors. The general state ^H 
of afifairs concerning the Gnostic Acts- ^| 
romances may be seen in the Preamble ^H 
to Vol. IV. of these httle books, The ^| 
Hymn of Jesus ; and I will here requote ^H 
what Lipsius, whose authority on the ^| 
subject is great, has said : ^H 

" Almost every fresh editor of such ^H 

narratives, using that freedom which aU ^H 

antiquity was wont to allow itself in dealing ] 

with Uterary monuments, would recast ^J 

the materials which lay before him, ^| 

excluding whatever might not suit his ^| 

theological point of view — dogmatic ^| 

statements, for example, speeches, ^M 

LB 13 ^M 



prayers [hymns we might add], etc., for 
which he would substitute other formulje 
of his own composition, and further 
expanding and abridging after his own 
pleasure, or as the immediate object 
which he had in view might dictate. . . 

" Cathohc bishops and teachers knew 
not how better to stem this flood of 
Gnostic writings and their influence 
among the faithful, than by boldly 
adopting the most popular narratives from 
the heretical books, and, after carefully 
eliminating the poison of false doctrine, 
replacing them in this purified form in 
the hands of the public." 

With the general criticism of the extant 
forms of the text of The Acts of Thomas 
we caimot concern ourselves in this little 
treatise, but as against Professor Burkitt's 
view of our Hymn — which he himself has 
characterised as " rather extreme " — I 
venture to associate myself with the 
otherwise unanimous body of learned 
opinion, that the Hymn was originally 
Irom the pen of a Gnostic poet. Not 


only 90, but it may be contended that J^^niwc. 
the whole of the Ada ThomcB were origin- song OF 
ally Gnostic. Did the original compiler, wisdom. 
then, write the Hymn, or did he incorporate 
it from some other source ? I am inclined 
to adopt the latter hypothesis, though 
I grant it is open to objection. But in 
any case, according to what has been 
said above, it was originally Gnostic 
rather than what subsequently became 
Catholic, and some later Catholic hand 
has " carefully eliminated " from the 
original Syriac " the poison of false 
doctrine," — to quote the phrase of Lipsius 
which I have itahcized— while the Greek 
translator has more or less faithfully 
followed his original. When, for instance, 
we find such a phrase as " the Son's 
Twelve Apostles " {p. 14), we agree 
with Macke (p. 9), that: "Z)er alte 
gnostiscke Text isi katholisch iiherar- 
bcitd " (The original Gnostic text has 
been worked over in a Catholic sense). 
In brief, the later Syrian redactor has 
" cooked " the text to suit his orthodoxy ; 




whereas the Greek translator, though 
not very skilful, is trustworthy (see 
Preuschen, p. 8). The Greek form is 
nearest the original ; still it is not pure, 
for it has additions and exclusions, while 
in places it is somewhat paraphrastic 
{ibid. p. 28). 

If then the Hymn was incorporated by 
the Syrian compiler of the Acts from 
some other source, was it taken over just 
as it stood ? That is to say. Was it 
originally composed as a Gnostic Hymn ? 
I think it was ; and if it be suggested, 
as it has been by early critical opinion, 
that it was originally a profane Syrian 
Bridal Ode, and that it was subsequently 
Gnosticized, this two-stage hypothesis 
seems unnecessary if we admit, with 
Preuschen (pp. 7 and 29), the simpler 
probability that it was built on the model 
of similar Syrian wedding-songs and 
customs, even as they obtain to-day, 
during the seven days festivities, when the 
bride and bridegroom are represented 
as a royal couple. 


And now what shall we call our Ode, 
for it has no title ? On the whole I think 
that " Tlie Wedding-Song of Wisdom " 
is a good description, if we take " of 
Wisdom " to signify " in praise of Wis- 
dom," where Wisdom stands for the 
Gnostic Sophia, the purified human soul, 
awaiting the coming of her Divine Spouse 
and Complement the Christ. That this 
is a legitimate title may be seen from 
the Hymn itself, which in the Greek ends 
with the couplet ; 

" So with the Living Spirit they sang 
praise and hymn unto Truth's Father 
and to Wisdom's Mother." 

This plainly stood in the lost Syriac 
original, for which in the present text 
the redactor or over-worker has sub- 
stituted an orthodox doxology from some 
liturgy, beginning : 

" Praise ye the Father, the Lord." 

As to the contents and style of this 
Song, it must be confessed that we have 
to do with a poem of far less originahty 
than the Hymn of the Robe of Glory, and 




I have taken it as a subject not so 
much for its intrinsic merits, as because 
it affords an opportunity to set forth 
some information on that great mystery 
which was in antiquity generally known 
as the Sacred Marriage. 

With these brief introductory remarks 
the reader may perhaps approach the 
perusal of the translation of the Greek, 
Syriac and Armenian with greater under- 
standing. For the Syriac I have com- 
pared aU the existing versions, and for 
the Armenian fragments I have translated 
from the German the version printed 
by Preuschen, 




Tke Maiden is Lighi's Daughter ; 
On her the Kings' Radiance resteth. 

Stately her Look and delightsome. 
With radiant beauty forth-shining. 

Like unto spring-flowers are her Garments, 
From them streameth scent of sweet odour. 

On the Crown of her Head the King 

[With Living Food] feeding those 'neath 


Truth on her Head doth repose, 
She sendeth forth Joy from her Feet. 


Her Mouth is opened, and meetly ; 
Two-and-thirty are they who sing praises. 




15 Her Tongue is like the Door-hanging 
Set in motion by those who enter. 

Step-wise her Neck risetk — a Stairway 
The first of all Builders hath builded. 

The Two Palms of her Hands 
20 Suggest the Choir of the Mons. 

Her Fingers are secretly setting 
The Gates of the City ajar. 

Her Bridechamber shineth with Light, 
Forth-pouring scent of balsam and sweet- 

25 Exhaling the sweet perfume both of myrrh 
and savoury plants, 
And crowds of scented flowers. 


Inside 'tis strewn with myrtle-boughs ; 
Its Folding-doors are beautified with reeds. 

Her Bridesmen are grouped round her, 30 
Seven in number, whom she hath invited. 

Her Bridesmaids, too, are Seven, 
Who lead the Dance before her. 

And Twelve are her Servants before her. 
Their gaze looking out for the Bridegroom ; 35 
That at His sight they may be filled with 

A nd then for ever more shall they be with Him 
In that eternal everlasting Joy ; 

And share in that eternal Wedding-feast, 

A t which the Great Ones [«//] assemble ; 4^ 

A nd so abide in thai Delight 

Of which the Ever-living are deemed worthy. 

With Kingly Clothes shall they be clad, 
Ind put on Robes of Light. 

45 -^w^ both shall be in Joy and Extdiation 

and praise the Father of the Wholes, 
Whose Light magnificent they have received. 

For at their Master*s sight they were now 
filled with Light ; 

They tasted of His Living Food 
That hath no waste at all, 

50 And drank of that [eternal] Wine 

That causes thirst and longing never more. 

[So] with the Living Spirit they sang 

praise and hymn 
Unto Truth's Father and to Wisdom's 



My Bride is a Daughter of Light ; 

Of the Kings' she possesseth the Splendour. 

Stately and charming her Aspect, 
Fair, with pure beauty adorned. 


H Her Robes are like unio blossoms, 5 1 

H Whose scent is fragrant and pleasant. ^ 

H On the Crown of her Head the King throneih, ■ 
H Giving Food to her Pillars beneath Hint. ^^H 

I She seiteth Truth on her Head, ■ 

H Joy eddieth forth from her Feet. 10 1 

H Her Mouth is open — and well doth it suit fl 

H her — ^^H 

H For'she singeth with it loud praises. ^^H 

V /ft her the Son's Twelve Apostles ^^H 
H And the Seventy-two are all-thunderous. ^^H 

H Her Tongue's the Hanging of the Door, 15 1 
H The Priest uplifts and enters. I 

H A Stairway is her Neck ^^B 
■ Thai the first Builder hath builded. ^H 

H The Palms of her Hands, furthermore, ^i^B 
H Predict the Land of the Living. 20 ^B 

^^h m 



And of her fingers the Decad 

Set for her open the Heaven's Door. 

Her Bridal Chamber^ a-light, 

And filled with the scent of Salvation. 

Incense is set in her Midst, of Love, 
and of Faith, 

And of Hope, and tnaking all scented. 

Within is Truth strewn ; 

Its Doors with Verity are decked. 

30 Her Bridesmen surround her, 
All, whom she hath invited. 

And her Bridesmaids, grouped with them. 
Are singing the Praise-hymn before her. 

Before her there serve Living Ones, 
3S And watch for the Bridegroom's coming. 

That by His Radiance they may be filled 
with Light, 


And with hitn enter tn His Kingdom^ 
That never more shall pass away. 

And go unto that Feast 

Where all ike Righteous shall assemble ; 40 

And so attain to that Delight 
Wherein they each and all shall enter. 

Thereon they clotfie themselves in Robes of 

Light, I 

And are wrapped in the Radiance of their 


And to the Living Father praises sing, 45 
In that they have received the Light mag- 

And by their Lord's Resplendence are made 

And they have tasted of His Living Food 
That never more hath waste. 

And of the Living [Water] they have drunk. 
That suffers them to pant and thirst no more. 


Praise ye tht Father, the Lord, 

And {praise ye] the Son Sok-begoUen, 

And thanks give unto the Spirit 

As [thanks giving] unto His Wisdom. 


Great is the Lighfs Daughter, the Church ; 
She is the Desire of thy Kings, longed f^r 
and happy. 




We shall go to the Heavenly Marriage 
And drink the Wine that makes gladsome ; 

We shall Ithenl be with Him for ever, 
From the Bounds of the East bearing 

The Scribe has unfortunately copied 
only the first and last lines, and omitted 
the whole body of the Hymn. 




The picture that the Hymn conjures ^™™c. 
up before our eyes is entirely in keeping song of 
with the Syrian marriage customs ob- wisdom, 
served among the peasants even to the 
present day. Cheyne, in his article on 
" Canticles," in the Encyclopedia Biblica, 
smnmarizes from Wetzstein's instructive 
account (" D. syr. Dreschtafel," in Bas- 
tian's Z(. fiir Ethnologie (1873), pp. 287- 
294) of the customs of the Syrian peasants 
in the month of weddings (March). 

" During the seven days after a wedding 
high festivity, with scarcely interrupted 
singing and dancing, prevails. The bride- 
groom and the bride play the parts of 
king and queen (hence the week is called 
the ' king's week '), and receive the 



homage of their neighbours ; the crown, 
however, is ... . confined to the 
bride. The bridegroom has his train of 
' companions.' .... The bride, too, 
has her friends, the maidens of the place, 
who take an important part in the re- 
ception of the bridegroom." 

Before the wedding a song called waif 
{i.e., " laudatory description ") is sung 
in honour of the bride. Other songs are 
also sung before 'and after the wedding. 


The most famous ancient collection 
of such songs is The Song of Songs {Shir 
ha-Shinm), which the most recent research 
(see Cheyne, ibid.), characterizes as " an 
anthology of songs used at marriage 
festivals in or near Jerusalem, revised 
and loosely connected by an editor 
without regard to temporal sequence." 
Hirsch and Toy's article " Song of Songs," 
in the Jewish Encyclopaedia, gives the 
date of compilation as probably in the 

penod 200-100 B.C., but it of course the 

*^ . . . . • 1 WEDDING- 

contams more ancient matenal. song OF 

The following lines from a wasf in this WISOOlb 

collection, in their Revised Version, may 

with advantage be compared with our 


" How beautiful are thy feet in sandals, 

O prince's daughter ! 
Thy rounded thighs are Hke jewels, 

fThe work of the hands of a cunning 

Thy neck is like the tower of ivory ; 

Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, 
And the hair of thine head like purple ; 
The king is held captive in the tresses 

C 29 

WFnniHr ^^ might almost be persuaded that 
SONG OF * these very lines were in the mind of our 
WISDOM. Gnostic poet when he wrote his Ode ; 
but as the wasf was invariably in praise 
of the personal attractions of the bride, 
describing her charms with the intimacy 
of unabashed realism, such songs must 
have been very similar to one another, 
and must have become in time quite 
conventionalized. We need not, there- 
fore, in seeking for the prototype of oiir 
Ode, be sure we have found it in this 
particular wasf of the Song of Songs 

Though these songs were originally secu- 
lar, once they were collected as "scripture," 
and doubtlessly " over- written " in the 
interests of religion, they were regarded 
as portraying the phases of spiritual and 
not earthly love. They were thus made 
susceptible of an allegorical interpretation, 
and perhaps such interpretations were 
attempted almost as soon as they were 
thus coDected, indeed the very collection 
of them may have been fof this very 


purpose. They were then regarded as IJ^jj-.- 
setting forth the Love of Yahweh and His SOHG OF 
people, Israel. Of any such interpre- WISDOM. 
tations prior to the Christian era we 
have no definite knowledge, but similar 
interpretations were general enough among 
the Jewish mystics in the days of Philo 
(B.C. 30 — A.D. 40), and must have been 
attempted long before his time, as we are 
justified in concluding from his statements 
about the allegorizing art of the Thera- 
peuts. Both Midrash and Targum 
prove conclusively that the oldest inter- 
pretation of The Song of Songs was 
allegorical. It, therefore, follows that 
the allied schools of the Christianized 
Gnosis must have as fully dehghted in 
allegorizing Caniides, and not only so, 
but have created new songs the better to 
express the innermost meaning of the 
great mystery of the Sacred Marriage, 
which was one of their chief est sacraments. 
Later on this allegorizing passed into the 
Cathohc Church. As The Jewish En- 
cyclopedia article says : " The allegorical 


™E| conception of it passed over into the 

SONG OF " Christian Church, and has been elaborated 
WISDOM, by a long line of workers from Origen 
down to the present time, the deeper 
meaning being assumed to be the relation 
between God or Jesus [the Christ rather] 
and the Church or the individual soul." 
Whether or not The Song of Songs 
collection was originally intended to be 
allegorized, it is quite evident that our 
Ode was composed chiefly for this purpose • 
indeed, for the most part it interprets 
itself in technical Gnostic terms, 


From the Talmud we know that R. 
Shimeon, son of Gamaliel, the teacher of 
Paul, interpreted The Song of Songs 
allegorically. R, Shimeon was one of 
the Tannaim of the " first generation," 
and flourished about the first quarter of 
the second century a.d, (See H. L. Strack, 
Einleitung in den Thalmud — Leipzig, 
1900 — p. 78). 


It is not possible here to discuss the date HJ£,-„„- 
and sources of the Zoharic documents song of 
which form the main corpus of the extant WISDOM 
Kabalah (The Tradition par excellence, 
according to the Jewish mystics) ; it is 
enough to say that these documents 
contain ancient material and traditions, 
which find their nearest relatives in the 
remains of the Jewish and Christian 
Gnosis. It will be suificient for our 
present purpose to set down a passage 
from Jean de Pauly's recent French 
translation of the Sepher-ha-Zohar or 
Book of Splendour, the first complete 
translation which has ever appeared, 
and is now being published by the 
devotion of M. Emile Lafuma-Giraud 
(Paris, 1906, in progress). This passage 
purports to preserve the tradition of R. 
Shimeon's views on the Sacred Marriage, 
and runs as foUows (i. 43 ff., Zohar, i, 8a) ; 

" Rabbi Shimeon consecrated to the 
study of the mystic doctrine the whole 
night on which the Heavenly Bride is 
united with her Heavenly Spouse." 




This is said to have been the eve of 

the Feast of Pentecost, the day when the 
Law {Torah) was revealed to the IsraeUtes, 
and the Covenant (regarded as a marriage 
contract) contracted between Yahweh 
and His people, 

" For, as it has been taught, all the 
Members of the Palace of the Heavenly 
Bride should spend the whole night with 
her, and on the morrow lead her beneath 
the wedding canopy, beside her Spouse, 
and rejoice with her. They should con- 
secrate the eve of the HeaverJy Marriage 
to the study of the Law, the Prophets 
and the Sacred Writings, to the inter- 
pretation of the verses and to the 
mysteries ; for the esoteric science {i.e., 
gnosis] is as it were the jewels of tl^^ 
Heavenly Bride. 1^ 

" She and her young maidens, who 
surround her, rejoice the whole night ; 
and on the morrow she goes beneath the 
wedding canopy surrounded by them, 
who are rightly called the ' guests ' [lit. the 
invited] of the marriage.' ~ 


"The moment the Bride steps under 
the canopy, the Holy One (Blessed be 
He !) salutes the companions of the 
Bride, blesses them, and adorns them 
with crowns [or wreaths] woven by the 
Bride ; happy the lot of the Brides- 
maids ! 

" During the night when the Heavenly 
Marriage was being consummated, Rabbi 
Shimeon and his companions chanted 
hymns and uttered sayings containing 
new ideas about the mystic doctrine 
[the gnosis]. 

" Therefore, addressing his companions. 
Rabbi Shimeon exclaimed : ' My sons, 
happy is yoiir lot, for to-morrow the 
Heavenly Spouse will go beneath the 
canopy accompanied by you only, because 
you have rejoiced with her on tht eve 
of the Marriage [or Union]. Ye aU shall 
have your names written in the Heavenly 
Book ; and the Holy One (Blessed be 
He !) will overwhelm you with sixty 
and six blessings, and adorn you with 
crowns of the world above." 






On this there follows a further inter- 
pretation ; but enough has been said to 
indicate to the reader the striking 
similarities between the tradition of 
R, Shimeon b. Gamahel and the matter 
of our Ode. With the writing of the name 
in the Book of Life may be compared 
The Hymn of the Robe of Glory (I. 47) ; 
" When thy Name is read in the Book of 
the Heroes," and the note upon it (p. 87). 
The number 66, is the double of 33, 
the full number of «ons in the Christian 
Gnostic Pleroma or Fulness. The num- 
ber of the Kabahstic Ways in the Sepher 
Yetzira, the oldest extant Kabahstic 
treatise (? Vllth—XIth centuries), is 32. 
This Book of Perfecting {see E. Bischoff, 
Die Kabbalah : Einfuhrung in die 
jUdische Mystik and Geheimwissenschaft — 
Leipzig, 1903 — pp. 8 and 10) is based upon 
the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet as 
the 22 " elements " of all things, and the 
10 numbers of the decad (Sephiroth), as 
categories of aU Being. These are all 
summed up in one absolute Unity, 33 in 


all. Perhaps this may throw light on 1. ™^_.„_ 

12 of our Ode (Greek text) : SCWG OF 

" Two-and-thirty are they who sing WISDOJ 


But already a century before Rabbi 
Shimeon, Philo of Alexandria was filled 
with the idea of the Mystic Union or 
Sacred Marriage ; it was the favourite 
doctrine of his circle and of similar circles 
of allied mystics of the time. I have 
already at length {H. i. 216-224) set forth 
his doctrines on the subject, with full 
references to his works, and must here 
be content with a few quotations only, 
which embody the doctrine, apart from 
the scriptural references which he would 
have us take as the foundation on 
which the doctrine is built ; whereas it is 
quite evident that the doctrines were 
shared in by many who had no knowledge 
of the Covenant-documents, and that it 
is PhUo himself who accommodates the 
scripture of his race to the doctrines. 


THE Philo writes : 



ISDOM, " But it is not lawful for Virtues, in 
giving birth to their many perfections, 
to have part or lot in a mortal husband. 
And yet they will never bring forth of 
themselves without conceiving their ofE- 
spring of another." 

" Who, then, is He who soweth in 
them their glorious progeny, if not the 
Father of Wholes— the God beyond all 
genesis, who yet is Sire of everything 
that is ? For, for Himself, God doth 
create no single thing, in that He stands 
in need of naught ; but for the man who 
prays to have them He creates all things." 

And again : 

" God is both Home, the incorporeal 
Land of incorporeal ideas, and Father of 
all things, in that He did create them, 
and Husband of Wisdom, sowing for the 
race of mankind the seed of blessedness 
into good virgin soil. 


" For it is fitting God should converse J^^-™,- 
with an undefiled, an untouched and pure song of 
nature, vnth her who is in very truth wiSDOa 
ths Virgin, in fashion very different from 

" For the congress of men for the 
procreation of children makes virgins 
wives. But when God begins to asso- 
ciate \vith the soul, He brings it to pass 
that she who was formerly wife becomes 
virgin again. For banishing the foreign 
and degenerate and non-virile desires, 
by which it was made womanish, He 
substitutes for them native and noble 
and pure virtues. . . . 

" Wherefore is it not fitting that God, 
who is beyond all genesis and aU change, 
should sow in us the ideal seeds of the 
immortal ^-irgin virtues, and not those 
of the woman who changes the form of 
her virginity ? " 

Thus, speaking of the impure soul, 
PhUo writes ; 




" For when she is a multitude of 
passions and fiUed with vices, her 
children swarming over her — pleasures, 
appetites, folly, intemperance, unright- 
eousness, injustice— she is weak and sick, 
and lies at death's door, dying ; but 
when she becomes sterile, and ceases to 
bring them forth, or even casts them from 
her, forthwith, from the change, she 
becometh a chaste virgin, and receiving 
the Divine Seeds she fashions and en- 
genders marvellous excellencies that 
nature prizeth highly — ^prudence, courage, 
temperance, justice, holiness, piety, and 
the rest of the virtues and good dis- 

So also speaking of the Therapeutrides, 
the women-disciples of the Therapeut 

communities, he writes : 

" Their longing is not for mortal 
children, but for a deathless progeny, 
which the soul that is in love with God 
can alone bring forth, when the Father 


hath sown into it the spiritual Light- SSt!v,Kf. 
beams, by means of which it shall be able song of 
to contemplate the laws of Wisdom." WISDOM. 

And a little later he adds : 

" And Wisdom, who, after the fashion 
of a mother, brings forth the self-taught 
Race, declares that God is the Sower of it." 

And yet again, speaking of this spiritual 
progeny, he writes ; 

" But all the Servants of God {Thera- 
peuts) who are lawfully begotten, shall 
fulhl the law of their nature, which 
commands them to be parents. For 
the men shall be fathers of many sons, 
and the women mothers of many children." 

They shall be true Godfathers and 

Still contemplating the mystery, though 
from another standpoint, he writes : 


WADING " ^*"^ some Wisdom judges entirely 
SONG OF " worthy of living with her, while others 
WISDOM, seem as yet too young to support such 

admirable and wise house-sharing ; these 

latter she hath permitted to solemniz* 
the preliminary initiatory rites of Mar- 
riage, holding out hopes of its future 

But, indeed, Philo is never weary of 
descanting on what he evidently regarded 
as the highest consummation of the holjr 
life, the raison d'etre of which he sets 
forth as follows : 

" We should, accordingly, understand 
that the True Reason [logos = Aiman in 
Sanskrit] of nature has the potency 
of both father and husband for different 
purposes — of a husband, when He casts 
the seed of virtues into the soul as into 
a good field ; of a father, in that it is His 
nature to beget good counsels, and fair 
and virtuous deeds, and when He hath 
begotten them. He nourisheth them with 


those refreshing doctrines which Dis- 
cipline and Wisdom furnish. 

" And the Intelligence [Buddhi 
Sanskrit] is hkened at one time to a 
virgin, at another to a wife, or a widow, 
or one who has not yet a husband. 

" It is likened to a virgin, when the 
Intelligence keeps itself chaste and un- 
corrupted from pleasures and appetites, 
and griefs and fears, the passions which 
assault it ; and then the Father who 
begot it, assumes the leadership thereof. 

" And when she (Intelligence) hves as 
a comely wife with comely Reason {Logos), 
that is with virtuous Reason, this self- 
same Reason Himself undertakes the 
care of her, sowing, like a husband, the 
most excellent concepts in her. 

" But whenever the soul is bereft of 
her children of prudence, and her Marriage 
with Right Reason, widowed of her most 
fair possessions, and left desolate of 
wisdom, through choosing a blame- 
worthy life— then, let her suffer the pains 
she hath decreed against herself, with no 



wmnfMf Wise Reason to play physician to her 
SONG OF transgressions, either as husband and 
WISDOM, consort, or as father and begetter." 

As examples o£ Philo's allegorizing 
art we may append two instances. Refer- 
ring to Jacob's dream of the white and 
spotted and otherwise marked kine, Philo 
insists that it must be taken allegorically. 
The first class of souls, he says, are 
" white." 

" The meaning is that when the Soul 

receives the Divine Seed, the first-born 
births are spotlessly white, Uke unto 
Ught of utmost purity, to radiance of the 
greatest brilliance, as though it were the 
shadowless ray of the sun's beams from 
a cloudless sky at noon." 

Even the realistic primitive-culture 
story of Tamar does not dismay him, for 
he writes : 

" For being a widow she was com- 
manded to sit in the House of the Father, 


the Saviour ; for whose sake for ever ^(Kjqjj. 
abaadoning the congress and association song of" 
with mortal things^ she is bereft and wisdom. 
widowed of all human pleasures, and 
eceives the Divine quickening, and, full- 
'filled with the Seeds of Virtue, conceives 
and is in travail with fair deeds. And 
when she brings them forth, she carries 
off the trophies from her adversaries, 
and is inscribed as Victor, receiving as 
a symbol the palm of victory." 

Every stage of this Divine conception 
or self-regeneration is but a shadow of the 
mystery of cosmic creation, which Philo 
sums up as follows : 

" We shall . . . . be quite 
correct in saying that the Maker who 
made all this universe, is also at the same 
time Father of what has been brought 
into existence ; while its Mother is the 
Wisdom of Him who hath made it — with 
whom God united, though not as man 
with woman, and implanted the power 

E» 45 

w^DiNP °^ Genesis, And she, receiving the Seed 
SONG OF " *^* ^od, brought forth with perfect labour 
WISDOM. His only beloved Son whom all may 
perceive — this cosmos." 

Did Philo in all this write aU he knew ; 
or is he raising one veil of the mystery- 
only ? Virtue is most admirable, the 
very foundation of the whole building, 
but virtues are also powers, and regenera- 
tion spells actual re-birth and per- 
fectioning on aU planes, and in all states. 


Before giving some indications of how 
the Gnostics regarded the mystery of the 
Sacred Marriage, we may set down a 
summary of what Paterson has to say 
from an orthodox Biblical standpoint, on 
" Marriage as a Symbol of Spiritual 
Truths," in his article in Hastings' Diction- 
ary of the Bible (Edinburgh, 1900), whence 
aU the references can be obtained. 

The germ of the idea has been traced 

by Robertson Smith to Semitic " heathen- 
ism" where the God was regarded as 
the husband of the motherland. 

After Hosea it became a commonplace 
of prophecy that Yahweh was to Israel as 
a Bridegroom and Israel to Yahweh as a 
Bride, This conception passed over into 
Christianity with modifications — the 
Bridegroom being now God in Christ, 
and the Bride the Church, the spiritual 
Israel chosen out of every nation. 

" How large a portion of the body ol 
Christian doctrine may be set forth, and 
with the sanction of Scripture, under the 
category of the marriage relation, may 
be briefly indicated : 

" (i) Under the doctrine of God this 
representation .... lays special 
stress on the attributes of clemency and 
long-suffering, while it safeguards the 
holiness of God by showing Him grieved 
and provoked to anger by contumacy 
and unfaithfulness. [This is a very human 
point of view. — G.R.S.M.]. As husband 
God also provides for his people. 





" (2) The doctrine of sin is, from this 
point of view, characterized as adultery — 
a designation which, as regards (a) the 
fiature of sin, indicates that its essence 
consists in indifference or even hatred 
towards God, and the giving of the affec- 
tions towards other objects ; {b) the 
heinousness of sin draws attention to its 
aggravation as unfaithfulness to solemn 
obligations and ingratitude for high fa- 
vours ; and (c) the punishment of sin 
teaches that persist ance in it entails a 
casting-off, of which human divorce is a 
pale emblem." 

The Jewish mystics had manifestly 
reached a higher ided in Philo's time, 
and the Christian Gnostics followed on 

" (3) In the Christological doctrine the 
points which are chiefly emphasized by 
the conception are the love of Christ, 
His kingly office as exercised in His head- 
ship over the Church, and His intimate 
union with it through the indweUing 


The key-passages are /. Cor. xi. 2 : H^jr,,,— 


" For I am jealous over you with a WISDOii, 
jealousy of God : for I espoused you to one 
husband, that I might present you as a 
pare virgin to Christ." 

And the Letter to the Ephesians, v. 23-32 : 

" For the husband is the head of the 
wife, as Christ also is the Head of the 
Church, being Himself the Saviour of the 
Body. . , . Even as Christ also loved 
the Church, and gave Himself up for it ; 
that he might sanctify it, having cleansed 
it with the Laver of Water by the Word, 
that He might present the Church to 
Himself a glorious [Bride] not having 
spot or wrinkle or any such thing ; but 
that she should be holy and without 

blemish This mystery is 

great : but I speak in regard of Christ 
and the Church." 

The last words seem to mean that Paul, 



or (if it be preferred) whoever wrote the 
Letter, knew that the above was one 
interpretation only, and that there was 
another and more intimate revelation of 
the mystery, when the individual Soul 
gathered together the Church, or Assembly, 
of its scattered Members or Powers, as 
in the Osiric Mystery. 

But to return to Pata-son's by no 
means inspiring and clumsily worded ex- 
position ; 

" (4) In close relation to the last, the 
doctrine of the Church is elucidated and 
enriched by the assertion of its mystical 
union with and dependence upon Christ, 
and of its essential note of sanctity — 
the latter, which includes aU the graces 
included in sanctification, being beauti- 
fully portrayed as the bridal adornment. 

" (5) Finally, as regards eschatology, 
the figure concentrates attention on the 
momentous event of the Second Coming, 
which is sudden as the coming of the 
bridegroom, and places in a clear light 


the bliss, the security, and unutterable S^^™ 
glory of the everlasting kingdom." song op 


It can hardly be said that the writer _ 

has made it clear that he regards the 
mystery, which Paul caUs "great," as 
veiling an intense and immediate meaning 
independent of the Church as orthodoxly 
understood. The terms " symbol " and 
" figure " are clearly used rhetorically 
and not raysttcally, as it were things 
we have now outgrown. But to the 
mystic it is all far otherwise ; the Second 
Coming is an eternal fact, perpetually 
happening ; the Union is of Uke nature. 

But before we can understand the 
Gnostic point of view some indications 
of the nature of Wisdom as the World- 
Soul and individual soul must be at- 


In all the ancient great religions the 
Power whereby the God brought Himself 



into manifestation was regarded as His 
Divine Spouse ; and so it is even to-day 
in Indian theosophy, every God has his 
Shakti or Power, every Deva his Devi. 
This was apparently (apart from Judaism) 
a common feature in all the ancient 
Semitic traditions, as may be seen in 
the Phoenician cosmogony preserved in 
the Histories of Philo Bybhus {H. i. 122 if.). 

In Babylonian cosmogony the Spouse 
of the Supreme was Wisdom. Wisdom 
dwelt in the Depths of the Great Sea 
with Ea the Creative Deity. Ea is the 
Bel-nimequi, the Lord of Unfathomable 
Wisdom ; emequ = ta be deep, and to be 
wise. The Deep or Depth is, therefore, 
sjTnbol of Unfathomable Wisdom ; com- 
pare Apsii=Waterdeep and House of 
Wisdom. (See Hehn, p. 2, in the work 
referred to later on, p. 88). 

The post-exilic scriptures of the Hebrews 
(and pre-exilic for a matter of that) were 
strongly tinctured with Babylonian ideas, 
and a Wisdom-literature was gradually 
developed which later on became strongly 


influenced by the " philosophizing " of 
Hellas. This Hokmah-literature (for 
references see Kohler's art. " Wisdom " 
in The Jewish Encyclopedia) was partly 
included in the later canon, but the major 
part of it, of which large portions have 
been lost, was apocryphal. 

In the now canonical literature Wisdom 
was regarded as " the all-encompassing 
Intelligence of God, the Helper of the 
Creator, the Foundation of the World. 

" In exact proportion as Israel's God 
was believed to be the God of the universe, 
Wisdom was regarded as the Cosmic 
Power, God's Master-Workman pit. 
Master-Workwoman] and His Designer, 
while at the same time Wisdom became 
the law of life and the Divine guide and 
ruler of man. . . . 

" Under the influence of Greek philo- 
sophy Wisdom became a divine agency 
of a personal character, so that Philo 
terms it . . . the Mother of the 
Creative Word. . . . 

" In Christian and Gentile Gnosticism 








became the centre of specu- 

In the last sentence we would reverse 
the order, the doctrines were Gentile first 
of all and were later Christianized, 

The orthodox Jews, with their fanaticism 
for the exclusive masculine, regarded 
Wisdom as a Constructive Formative 
Energy. The Gnostics regarded Her as a 
Conceptive, all-encompassing Power, that 
received and brought forth the Ideas of 
the Divine Mind, and manifested the 
Divine Laws. 

In brief, Wisdom was the World-Soul for 
cosmos, and the individual soul for man ; 
and what specially interested the Gnostics, 
what indeed is the special interest of ali 
mystics, was that the myth of the one 
was the myth of the other. To use 
Sanskrit terms, she is Maha-buddhi, Great 
Buddhi, the World-Soul or Divine Instinct, 
and individual Buddhi in man. We will, 
therefore, turn to the doctrines of the 
Christianized Gnosis on this mystery. 


Wisdom (Hokmah in Hebrew, Sophia THE 
in Greek, both feminine) dwelt with God ^nq^Jf* 
before the Creation of the World, and wisdom. 
sported continually before Him (Proverbs, 
viii.). Wisdom is the Litd or Sport of 
Deity, His Maya in Sanskrit, which does 
not mean Illusion, but rather Creative 
Power, from md, to measure. 

In the " Syrian Gnosis," perhaps the 
oldest form of the Christianized Gnosis, 
to Wisdom is assigned both the conception 
of the manifested worlds and the pro- 
duction of its Seven Ruling Powers 
(the Hebdomad). She herself was throned 
above them all, in the Place of the Midst 
(the Ogdoad), between the Spiritual World 
proper, that is the Divine Mind (the Plerdma 
or Fulness) and the Sensible World (the 
Kenoma or Emptiness, or Hysterema or 
Insufficiency). The same idea is seen in 
Proverbs, ix. r (LXX.) : 

"Wisdom hath built for herself a 
House and underpropped it with Seven 


™^ What these Seven may be we will 

SONG OF " enquire later on. They are referred to in 
WISDOM. " her Pillars beneath " of our Syriac 
Ode (1. 8). 

That there was already a fully developed 
Gnosis among the Jewish Mystics when 
the Proverbs-collection was compiled, 
may be seen from the graphic description 
(viii. 2, LXX.) : 

" Wisdom is on the lofty Heights ; she 
standeth in the Midst of the Paths ; ior 
she sitteth by the Gates of the Mighty, 
and singeth Hymns at the Entrances." 

The Gnostics knew that this referred 
to Sophia sitting in the Place of the Midst, 
above the Seven Fate-spheres, in the 
Eighth or Ogdoad, at the Gates of the 
Mighty, that is the Entrances of the 
Pleroma or Fulness, the Shekinah, to 
which the Paths of Return lead. 

She is thus the Mediatrix between the 
Upj)er and the Lower, and brings forth the 
mundane appearances after the spiritual 


prototypes. She is thus called Mother, 
and Mother of the Living. (All the 
references may be obtained from Lipsius' 
art. " Sophia," in Smith and Wace's 
Did. of Christ. Biog.). She is also called 
Light-Mother or Shining Mother, and 
the Power Above, and from her all 
spiritual souls draw their origin. 

But how is it that the Divine Spouse, 
in bringing the universe into manifesta- 
tion, had herself apparently fallen from 
the Perfection, and stood between it and 
the Imperfection ? There were many 
myths which speculated concerning this 
mystery, but as it would take several 
small volumes to set them forth in detail, 
we must content ourselves with a few 
brief indications only. 

To quote from Lipsius {loc, cit.) : 


" The fate of the ' Mother ' was re- 
garded as the prototype of what is repeated 
in the history of all individual souls, 
which being of heavenly pneumatic [spir- 
itual] origin, have fallen from the upper 




World of Light, their Home, and come 
under the sway of evil powers, from whom 
they must endure a long series of sufferings 
in transmigration till a Return to the 
Upper World be vouchsafed them. . . 
" It was .... taught that the 
souls of the Pnemnatici [Spiritual], having 
lost the remembrance of their heavenly 
derivation, required to become once more 
partakers of Gnosis, or knowledge of their 
own pneumatic essence [not intellectual 
but spiritual knowledge therefore], in 
order to make a Return to the Realm 
of Light. In the impartation of this 
Gnosis consists, according to the doctrine 
common to all Gnostics, the Redemption 
brought and vouchsafed by Christ to all 
pneumatic souls. But the various for- 
tunes of aU such souls were wont to be 
contemplated in those of this mythical 
personage Sophia, and so it was taught 
that the Sophia also needed Redemption 
wrought by Christ, by whom she is 
delivered from her [spiritu^] ignorance 
and her passions, and will at the end 


of the World's devdopment [i* the 
case of individual souls at the end of 
tkeir development or evolution, that is 
when perfected] be brought back to her 
long-lost Home, the Upper Pleroma, into 
which this Mother will find an entrance 
along with all pneumatic souls, her 
children [in the case of the individual 
soul, her powers, that is the powers of her 
past lives which are worthy of immor- 
tality], and there, in the Heavenly Bridal 
Chamber, celebrate the Marriage Feast of 



In the Gnostic systems mangled by 
Irenseus, "the cosmogonies of Syrian 
paganism have a preponderating influ* 

In one of these we are told of the 
creation of man, whom the Sophia uses 
as a means to deprive the Opposing Powers 
of the Light they have stolen, " of the 
perpetual conflict on his Mother's part 
with the self-exalting efforts of the 
Archontes [the Rulers or Opposing Powers, 


WT^ntvr ^it^"'^^ whom, however, there would be 
SONG OF ' ^° manifestation], and of her continuous 
WISDOM, striving to recover again and again the 
Light-spark [Atmic or Spiritual energy] 
hidden in human nature, till, at length, 
Christ [the Logos] comes to her assistance 
and, in answer to her prayers, proceeds 
to draw all the Sparks of Light to Himself, 
unites himself with Sophia as the Bride- 
groom with the Bride, descends on Jesus 
[purified man] who has been prepared, 
as a pure vessel for His reception, by 
Sophia [Jesus as the purified sold is also 
Sophia from another point of view], and 
leaves him again before the crucifixion 
[here meaning the death of the body], 
ascending with Sophia into the JEon that 
will never pass away," 

One of the names given to Wisdom 
by the Gnostics was Prunicus (UpouviKo^) 
which is generally rendered the Lustful 
or Lewd, but which mystically refers to 
" her attempts to entice away again 
from the Cosmic Powers [the Powers 

forth to procreation] the Seeds of Divine XS? 

T ;„!,* » WEDDING- 

^ig'^^- SONG OF 

She IS called the Harlot, because she wisdom, 

unites with the Light -sparks. Thus in 

the Simonian legend, Helen (Sophia), 
the consort of Simon {Shamash, the 
Sun, the Christ), is fabled to have been 
a harlot whom he picked up in a brothel 
at Tyre, This betrays a Phoenician 
background, and Tyre probably equates 
with the Jerusalem Below, and Egypt, 
the manifested world of physical nature. 

The Sophia was further regarded as 
the World-Womb, and the symbolism 
worked out instructively for the mystic. 
This is the Jagad-yoni of the Hindus. 

All these theories are ancient, and cer- 
tainly did not derive from the " Wisdom " 
of the Old Testament ; it was rather the 
latter that was accommodated to them. 
We, therefore, agree with Lipsius when 
he writes : 

" It is obvious that all these cosmogonic 
theories have their source or archetype 
K 6i 




not in the Sophia of the Old Testament, 
but in the Thalatth or Moledet of Syrian 
paganism, the Life-Mother of whom 
Berossus has so much to relate, or in 
the World-Egg out of which when cloven 
asunder Heaven and Earth and all things 

It is true that some very ancient 
wisdom was at the back of it all, whether 
originating with Thalatth or not, and 
modem science entirely corroborates 
this ancient wide-spread mysticism ; 
indeed it is difficult to find a symbolism 
that works out more naturally and satis- 

Another name for Sophia used by the 
Greek-writing Gnostics was Achamoth, 
the transliteration of the Aramaic Hach- 
muth {= Hebrew Hokmah). Another 
of her names, of which, however, the 
derivation is very uncertain, is Earbelo, 
or Barbero. In the Pistis Sophia {p, 361), 
Barbelo is the Mother of the repentant 
or returning Sophia, the human soul. 


If in one of her aspects she was called 
the Harlot, equally so was she called the 
Virgin and Virgin of Light. 

In the system of Bardaisan, Hachmuth 
gives birth to two daughters, probably 
typifying the twin soul of man, who are 
poetically called " Shame of the Dry 
Land " and ' ' Image of the Waters," earthy 
and watery. We also hear of " the Maiden 
who, having sunk down from the upper 
Paradise, offers up prayers ... for 
help from above, and being heard, returns 
to the joys of the Upper Paradise." 

As the Mother of the twin daughters, 
Hachmuth is elsewhere called by Bar- 
daisan the Holy Dove, that is the Divine 
Mother Bird, who lays and hatches both 
cosmic and human " Eggs." The two 
poetical names given to the daughters 
of Hachmiith, Wisdom (Buddhi), have 
hitherto proved an insoluble puzzle. The 
Mother, however, is always on the sub- 
stance side of things, and therefore her 
daughters, as all daughters must be, are 
equally on the substance side. Now the 





" Image of the Waters," is also referred 
to as the " type of the watery body." 
The names may thus designate the cosmic 
prototypes of what in the individual are 
the subtle or watery vehicle, and the 
gross or physical vehicle. 

That this is not so wild a speculation 
may be seen from the Hellenistic mystery- 
poem known as the Chaldtgan Oracles^ 
consisting of Chaldsan (that is, Syrian) 
stuff elaborately " philosophized." In 
them (ii. 37, 81, 83), the physical body 
is characterized as the "dung" (? = 
" shame ") of gross matter (kyle). This 
Hyle or Gross Matter is not regarded as 
the Fruitful Substance of the Universe, the 
" Land flowing with Milk and Honey " 
(the Jerusalem Above, or Sophia, Mother 
of all hving), but as the dry and squahd 
element beneath the Moon, which) Proclus 
tells us, is called in the Oracles, the 
" Unwatered," that is, which is in itself 
Unfruitful, the Desert as compared with 
the Promised Land. 

Equally so as to " Image of the Waters " 


we have information (ii, 57 f.)- For wel 7,5-^_.„„ 
reaa : song of 

" Extend on every side the reins of 
Fire [Mind] to guide the iraformed soul." 

That is to say, constrain the flowing 
watery nature of the soul by means of 
the Fire of the Spirit ; and this seems 
also to be the meaning of the difl&cult 
fragment : 

" If thou extendest Fiery Mind to 
flowing work of piety, thou shalt preserve 
thy body too." 

This seems to mean that, when by 
means of purification the soul is made 
fluid — that is to say, is no longer bound 
to any configuration of external things, 
when it is freed from prejudice, or opinion, 
and personal passion and sentiment, and 
is " with pure purities now purified," as 
the Mitktiac Ritual (p. 20) has it — then 
is this regenerated soul and plasm, the 



germ of the " perfect body," ready for 
' union with the true Mind of the Father. 

Speaking of the Acts of Thomas, Lipsius 
writes, after mentioning The Hymn of 
the Soul : 

" Of the other hymns which are pre- 
served in the Greek version more faith- 
fully than in the Ssoiac text which has 
undergone Cathohc revision, the first 
deserving of notice is the Ode to the Sophia, 
which describes the marriage of the 
' Maiden ' with her Heavenly Bridegroom 
and her introduction into the Upper 
Realm of Light. This ' Maiden,' called 
* Daughter of Light,' is not, £is the Cathohc 
reviser supposes, the Church, but Hach- 
muth (Sophia), over whose head the 
' King,' i.e. the Father of the Living Ones 
[Light-sparks] sits enthroned ; her Bride- 
groom is, according to the most probable 
interpretation, the Son of the Living One, 
i.e. Christ. With her the Living Ones, 
I.e. pneumatic souls, enter into the 

Pleroma, and receive the glorious Light the 

of the Living Father, and praise along ^qhq of 

with the ' Living Spirit,' the ' Father of wisdom. 
Truth ' and the ' Mother of Wisdom.' " 

Much more could be written on tliis 
fascinating subject, but enough has now 
been given for our immediate purpose. 


Sufficient has already been said to show 
that among the Christian Gnostics the 
mystery of the Sacred Marriage or Mystic 
Union formed the chiefest of their inner- 
most sacraments. It would be too long 
to pursue the subject in detail and bring 
together all the passages from the " Frag- 
ments of a Forgotten Faith" — which we 
are pleased to see Preuschen (p, 7) refers 
to as " Denkmiler eines verschoUenen Glau- 
bens " (the title of the German translation 
of Fragments being Fragmenie eines 
verschoUenen Glaubens, Berlin, igo2) — ^but 


wMDiHG^ two of the most striking may be set down. 

SONG OF The first has already been referred to in 
JSDOM. the above quotations from Lipsius, but 
it is worth while to give a full translation 
from the Old Latin version of Irenseus* 
lost Greek (I, xxx. 12). Irenseus ascribes 
the doctrine to those whom he calls 
Ophites, but who called themselves simply 
GnosticSj and whom Theodoret calls 
Sethians. This important passage comes 
at the end of the Church Father's ex- 
position of what in its cosmogony is 
evidently a pre-Christian system — pro- 
bably an ancient and very generally held 
belief outside Jewry, the main outlines 
of which have already been given in the 
comments on The Hymn of the Robe of 
Glory, under the heading " The Dual 
Sonship " (pp. 40 ff.). It runs as follovra ; 
"And since she herself [Wisdom Below 
or in manifestation] had no rest either 
in heaven or on earth, in her distress she 
invoked the Mother [Wisdom Above] to 
her aid. Accordingly her Mother, the 
First Woman, had pity on the repentance 

oi her Daughter, and asked the First 3f^.-,™. 
Man [the Father] that Christ [the Son] so«G OF 
should be sent to help her. wisdom. 

"So He emanated and descended to 
His own Sister, the Moistening of Light," 

That is, to the Light that had become 
watery or descended into the Watery 
Realms of Generation. 

" And she, the Downward Sophia [that 
is the Wisdom tending downwards to 
matter], becoming conscious that her 
Brother was descending to her, both 
proclaimed His Coming through John, 
and made ready the Baptism of re- 
pentance, and adopted Jesus beforehand 
[that is, chose him as her Son] ; so that 
the Christ descending might find a pure 
vessel. [The present reading of the rest 
of the sentence is hopeless.] 

" He descended through the Seven 
Heavens, making Himself hke to their 
Sons [that is, taking on the forms of 
their Rulers], and stage by stage emptied 
them of their Power [that is, the Light- 
sparks or Pneumatic souls that they had 

wF?>niwr ™prisoned] ; for the whole Moistening 
SONG OF ' of Light ran-together to Him. 
WISDOM. " And the Christ descending into this 
World [of gross matter] first clothed 
Himself with His own Sister Sophia, and 
both were in bliss in mutual refreshment, 
the one with the other ; this is the Bride- 
groom and the Bride. 

" Now Jesus being [re-] generated from 
the Virgin by the energizing of God, was 
wiser and purer and more righteous than 
all men ; [so] the Christ-blended-with- 
Sophia [two-in-one, male-female] de- 
scended on him, and he became Jesus- 

To this we may append the following 
section {§13} to give the reader some 
idea of one of the great Gnostic traditions 
concerning Jesus. Irenseus continues : 

" They say that many of his Disciples 
were not conscious of the Descent of the 
Christ upon him ; it was only when the 
Christ descended upon Jesus that he 


began to manifest powers and heal and 
announce the [hitherto] unknown Father gQNG of 
and confess openly that he was Son of WISDOM, 
the First Man. 

" At these things the Rulers and the 
Father of Jesus [that is, the Father of 
his body, the Demiiurge or Former of the 
physical world, which they equated with 
the Jewish idea of God] grew angry and 
set to work to have him killed. The 
moment this was brought about the 
Christ - together-with - Wisdom departed 
into the Incorruptible ^on [Eternity], 
while it was the Jesus who suffered the 
death of crucifixion. 

" Yet the Christ did not forget his 
[Beloved], but sent down from above a 
certain Power unto him, which raised 
him up in the body, in that body which 
they call both vital and spiritual ; for 
he sent the mundane elements [of his 
physical body] back again into the world. 

" The Disciples, however, though they 
saw he had risen did not know him [after 
death], nay, [they did not really know] 




even Jesus himself [in life], whose Grace 
[that is, the ' certain Power '] rose from 
the dead. They say that this very great 
error prevailed among the Disciples, that 
they believed he had risen in a mundane 

All previous translations have missed 
the meaning of Gratia (Grace) in the last 
sentence but one, taking *' cujus gratia " 
to mean " for whose sake " or " through 
whom." It is sufficient to refer the reader 
to The Hymn of Jesus (pp. 29, 32, 49, 52, 
62, 64), to show that the lost Greek 
original of Irenaeus must have read Charts, 
one of the syonjrms of Sophia in one of 
her aspects. That which rose from the 
" dead " was the Power or incorruptible 
" Body " of Light, the " Perfect Body," 
or " Robe of Glory "—or of " Power," 

Our Ode sets forth the perfections of 
the Bride adorned for the Bridegroom ; 
but the mystery could be set forth from 
the complementary point of view as we 


have already {p. 42) seen from Philo ^JSjiv™/^ 
of Alexandria. In the Naassene Docu- song of 
ment, which so strikingly reveals to us WISDO* 
the main moments in the evolution of 
one line of " Ophite " Gnostic tradition — 
(see H. i. pp. 139-198, " The Myth of 
Man in the Mysteries ") — the early Hel- 
lenistic writer tell us : 

" And the law is that after they have 
been initiated into the Little Mysteries 
[those of Generation], they should be 
further initiated into the Great [those of 

After describing the nature of the Lesser 

Mysteries, he adds : 

" These are the Little Mysteries, 
and after men have been initiated into 
them, they should cease for a little, and 
become initiated in the Great." 

Whereupon the early Jewish Gnostic 

comments : 




" For this Mystery is the Gate of 
Heaven, and this is the House of God, 
where the Good God dwells alone ; into 
which House no impure man shall come — 
but it is kept under watch for the Spiritual 
alone ; — ^where, when they come, they 
must cast away their garments, and all 
become Bridegrooms, obtaining their true 
Manhood through the Virginal Spirit." 
(H. i. 180, 181.) 

The Virginal Spirit is the Great Mother, 
the Sophia Above. This reminds us 
strongly of the primitive-culture initiatory 
rite of " young-man-making "as it is 
called ; but that belongs to the most 
grossly realistic form of the Lesser 
Mysteries. What a marvellous trans- 
formation is wrought in passing from the 
Below to the Above, into the Greater 
Mysteries, which the later Christian 
Gnostic commentator rightly characterizes 
as Heavenly ! 

The Rite of the Sacred Marriage must 
have been dramatically set forth in some 


of the inner rituals of the Christianized JJ^Qjjjp 

Gnosis. At any rate we definitely know song of 

that this was the case among the Mar- WISDC 
cosians, ior IreniEus (I. xxi. 3), tells us : 

" Some of them prepare a Bridal 
Chamber and celebrate a mystery-rite 
with certain invocations on those who 
are being perfected ; and they declare 
that what is being solemnized by them 
is a Sacred Marriage, in likeness with the 
Unions Above," 

It has already been pointed out, in 
treating of that marvellously interesting 
early Christian Gnostic Ritual of Initiation 
known as The Hymn of Jesus, (p. 50), 
that " the ultimate end of the Gnosis was 
the at-one-ment or union of the little man 
with the Great Man, of the human soul 
with the Divine Soul " ; indeed, one of 
the chief keys to the interpretation of 
some of the most striking formulae of this 
Ritual is that of the Sacred Marriage. 
It will not be out of place here to repeat 






one or two of these sentences. The 
neoph5^e impersonates the purified human 
soul or Sophia, and the Initiator or 
Master is the Christ. 

I would be wounded. 

Or " I would be pierced." This sug- 
gests the entrance of the Ray, the Higher 
Self, into the Heart, whereby the " Knot 
in the Heart," eis the Upanishads phrase 
it, niay be unloosed, or dissolved, or in 
order that the purified Lower Self may 
receive the Divine Radiance of the Higher. 
This interpretation is borne out by the 
alternative reading from an old Latin 
translation, which may have originated 
in a gloss by one who knew the mystery, 
for he writes : " I would be dissolved " ; 
that is, " consumed by love," 

And so we continue with the mysteries 
of this truly Sacred Marriage or Spiritual 

I would be begotten." 

This is the Mystery of the Immaculate J^^qju«- 
Conception or Seli-birth (pp, 57, 58). 


" I would be adorned.' 

The original Greek term suggests the 
idea of " rightly ordered " {kosmein}. It 
may also mean " clothed in fit garments" ; 
that is, the soul prays that her little 
cosmos which has been previously out of 
order may be made like unto the Great 
Order, and so she may be clad in " Glories" 
or " Robes of Glory," or " Power," like 
unto the Great Glories of the Heavenly 

" I would be at-oned." 

We now approach the Mystery of Union, 
when the soul abandons with joy its 
separateness, and frees itself from the 
limitations of its " possessions "—of that 
which is " mine " as apart from the rest 
(pp. 69, 70). 

Enough has now been given to assure 


vmiDINC- ^^"^ reader that the Sacred Marriage was 
SONG OF * fundamental mystery with the Christian 
WISDOM. Gnostics. We may next turn to the 
Trism^istic Gnosis, 


Thus in the Sacred Sermon called 
" The Key," we read (§22) : 

" Further there is an intercourse, or 
communion (koinoia), of souls ; those 
of the gods have intercourse with those 
of men, and those of men with souls of 
creatures which possess no reason. 

" The higher, further, have in charge 
the lower ; the gods look after men, men 
after animals irrational, while God hath 
charge of all ; for He is liigher than them 
all and all are less than He." {H. ii. 
155. 173) 

Again in the Discourse called " The 
Secret Sermon on the Mountain," we 
read (§§i,2) : 



" Tai. Wherefore I got me ready, ^^nrMr 
and made the thought in me a stranger SONC^F 
to the world-illusion. wisiooM. 

" And now do thou fill up [suggesting 
the Pleroma] the things that fall short 
[suggesting the Hysterema or Kenoma 
{<?/• P- 55)] i^ nie with what thou saidst 
would give one the tradition of Re-birth 
[or Regeneration], setting it forth in 
speech or as the secret way. 

" I know not, O Thrice-greatest one, 
from out what matter and what womb 
Man [the Spiritual Man] comes to birth, 
or of what seed. 

" Hermes. Wisdom that understands 
in Silence [such is the Matter and the 
Womb from out which Man is bom], and 
the True Good the Seed. 

" Tat. Who is the sower, father ? For 
I am altogether at a loss. 

" Her. It is the Will of God, my son. 

" Tat. And of what kind is he who is 
begotten, father ? For I have no share 
of that essence in me that doth transcend 


wS>DiNG *^^ senses. The one that is begot will 
SONG OF be another one from God, God's Son ? 
WISDOM. "Hey^ All in aU, out of aU Powers 

composed. [Cf. the Christ as the Common 

Fruit of the Pleroma.] 

" Tat. Thou tellest me a riddle, 

father, and dost not speak as father 

unto son. 

"Her. This Race, my son, is never 

taught ; but when He wiUeth it, its 

memory is restored by God." (H. ii. 

220, 221, 240 f.) 

This is the Mystery of the Virgin Birth. 


This Mystic Union was also the supreme 
mystery of the Hellenized Mago-Chal- 
dseanism to which the first century 
mystery-poem known as the ChaldcBan 
Oracles belonged, as we have shown in 
two of these Uttle volumes. Thus speak- 
ing of the fragment which set forth " The 
End of Understanding " we wrote : 


" The whole instruction might be 
termed a method of yoga or mystic union 
{unto mysiica) of the spiritual or kingly 
mind, the mind that rules itself — Raja- 
yoga, the Royal Art proper " (i. 27 f.), 

And again (ii. 65) : " Thus Proclus 

speaks of the soul, ' according to a certain 
ineffable At-one-ment, leading that-which- 
is-hlled [or the Kenoma] into sameness 
with that-which-iills [or the Pleroma], 
making one portion of itself, in an im- 
material and impalpable fashion, a re- 
ceptacle for the In-shining, and provoking 
the other to the Imparting of its Light.' 
This, he says, is the meaning of the verse : 
" ' When the currents mingle in con- 
summation of the Works of Deathless 
Fire.' " 


Indeed the Pagan Mystics interpreted 
the Loves of the Gods in the only way 
it was possible to do so, namely, as Sacred 
Marriages, the Unions Above of the 
Marcosians (see p, 75 above). Thus 

V^)DING. P''***^^^^' '° ^^ Commentary on Plato's 
SONG OP Parnwnides (ii. 214 ; StaUbaum — Leipzig, 
WISDOM. 1841— p. 602), writes : 

" The Theologers riddle these [Divine 
operations} by means of the Sacred 
Marriages ; for without exception they 
call the hke-natured combination and 
communion of the Divine Causes ' Mar- 
riage ' in a mystic sense. Sometimes 
they see it in the co-ordinate [elements] 
and call it the Marriage of Hera and Zeus, 
of Ouranos (Heaven) and Ge (Earth), of 
Kronos and Rhea ; sometimes in the 
inferior (or deficient) with the superior, 
and call it the Marriage of Zeus and 
Demeter ; and again sometimes in the 
superior with the lower, and call it the 
Marriage of Zeus and Kore ; since 
of the Gods some are commimions with 
the co-ordinate [elements], others with 
those prior to these, and again others 
with those subsequent to them ; and it is 
necessary to have a thorough under- 
standing of the special character of each 

[such union] and transfer such inter- XS5.„,«,-. 

twining from the Gods [or Wholes or sONG OF 

Genera] to the species [individuals or WIS 
partial existences]." 

The elements were considered as co- 
ordinates (o-wTToixa), that is, standing 
in the same row or order, or opposite 
(tWt(rToix«). that is, standing in opposite 
order or facing one another. Thus Air 
and Fire, Water and Earth, were regarded 
as co-ordinates, while Water and Fire, 
and Air and Earth, were considered 

Indeed, we hear of a book entitled 
Wh^ is Male and Female with the Gods, 
and whai Marriage, by Hipparchns the 
Stagjrite (Lobeck, Aglaophamus — K6nigs- 
berg, 1829 — p. 608). 

Many passages could be cited (Lobeck, 
ibid., pp. 648 ff), but we may be content 

with two only. 

Dio Chrysostom (xxxvi. 453), speaking 
of certain most sacred rites, says that : 


THE " The Sons of the Sages in the Perfect- 

SONG OF*'" ^S Rites that must not be disclosed, sing 
WISDOM, of the Blessed Marriage of Hera and 

And Proclus again, in his Commentary 
on Plato's Timmus (i. i6), writes : 

" That the same [Goddess] has union 
with different [Gods], and the same [God] 
with more [Goddesses], you may learn 
from the Mystic Discourses and what 
are called in the Mysteries the Sacred 


In the mystery-traditions the stages 
of inner development which the human 
soul passes through in its transmutation 
from mortality to immortality, from man 
to God, were set forth as births {and 
deaths also, and risings from the dead), 
and marriages. It is, moreover, not 
difficult for the experienced mjratic to 

assure himself by the knowledge of his J^ 
own " passion " that there must be 
marriage or union before birth. There- 
fore, though in deahng with the highly 
instructive Ritual which preserves for us 
perhaps the innermost rite or m3rstic 
sacrament of the Mithriaca {A Miikriac 
Rihtal, Vol. VI.), we treated it as a whole 
from the standpoint of Rebirth or Re- 
generation, there is in each stage imphcitly 
a union before the birth of new conscious- 
ness. This is implicit and not declared 
in this particular Ritual ; the consum- 
mation, however, is declared. The Com- 
ing of the God is the descent of his 
Higher Self into the man and the taking 
up of the man into Him. The Higher 
and the Lower Self are at length united. 
And so the last invocation prays : 

" Oh Lord of me, abide with me within 
my Soul ! Oh ! leave me not ! " 


Then comes the end 
Cross, the bitter cry : 


even as on the 
" My God, my 

u^miHc ^^' *^y ^^* Thou forsaken me ? " — 
SONG OF"" ^^^ then. Death . . . and Triumph, 


SDOM. Joy and Rebirth. 

" O Lord, being bom again (or from 
Above), I pass away in-being-made-Great, 
and, having-been-made-Great, I die. 

" Being bom from out the state of 
birth-and-death[Gk. Genesis, Sk, Samsdra'}, 
that giveth birth to mortal lives, I now, 
set free, pass to the state transcending 
birth, as Thou hast stabUshed it, according 
as Thou hast ordained and made the 
Mystery" (p. 33). 

This is achieved after the " Doors " 
of the Heavens are thrown open for the 
third time, Doors within and within, to 
the without and without, three stages 
of extended consciousness, or deeper 

Now it is to be remarked that just as 
in our Ode the Bride stands waiting for 
the Coming of the Bridegroom surrounded 
by Seven Bridesmaids and Seven Brides- 


men, so in the Mithriac Ritual the rubric Sinnrtir 

declares that the symbolic vision pre- song of 

ceding the Coming of the God shall be WISDOJ 
characterized as follows : 

" Thou shalt behold the Doors thrown 
open, and issuing from the Depth, Seven 

Virgins These are they who 

are the so-called Heaven's Fortunes. . . 

" There come forth others, too — Seven 
Gods. . . . These are the so-called 
Heaven's Pole-lords" (pp. 29, 30.} 

It is enough to say that, mystically, 
the Ritual suggests the bringing into 
activity of seven twin-powers or sense- 
faculties in the new-born Perfect or 
jEonic Body, the Body of Wholeness, in 
which every sense is of the nature of 
wholeness, that is, this Body becomes 
all ear when it hears, all eye when it 
sees, and so forth. 

But why Seven ? The reader will of 
course reply : Because of the Seven 



ONG OP " ^"^ both mysticism and the most recent 
VISDOM. scholarship forbid this facile answer. 
The so-called Planets, the Five and the 
Sun and Moon, were at a comparatively 
late date accommodated to the Seven, 
and were not its origin. The instructive 
treatise of Dr. Johannes Hehn, Siebenzahl 
und Sabbat bet den Babyloniern und 
im Alien Testameni : Eine religionsge- 
schichtliche Siudie, in the Leipziger semi- 
iische Studien, Bd. ii., Hft. v. (Leipzig, 
1907), leaves no doubt on the subject. 

VII,, when translated by the Baby- 
lonians from the Sumerian, appears as : 
whole, totality, all=universum (pp. 4, 
6, 52). This is Hehn's main contention, 
and he proves it in many ways. On 
p. 14 there is a hint that it means the 
Seven Directions [? of Space], but this 
suggestion he does not follow up. We 
will take up this point later on, for we 
know that Dik (in Sanskrit), the Directions 
of Space, is one of the chief categories 
of Indian philosophy. 

VII., he says, is the expression ol the SJE,,,™- 
highest Elevation, or Climax (compare song of 
the Stairway of the Neck of Wisdom in WISDOM. 
our Ode), of the highest Completion or 
Fulness {that is, Pleroma) and Power 

Quoting from a text (p. 19), which 
speaks of " the Seven Limbs of the 
Father-house," he says, these naturally 
mean " aU the Limbs " or Members. 
Compare this with the Pillars of our 
Ode, and the Pillars of the House of 
Wisdom in Proverbs. 

Excellently, too, does he point out 
(p. 20), that in the Babylonian religion, 
" Nature, according to this view of the 
world, is not ruled over by dead Laws, 
but it is the out-working of living Per- 
sonalities " — that is. Living Powers or 

The VIL, then, regarded as a Divine 
Power, " is not a Group of Gods, but is 
equivaient to the All-Godhead, and thus 
implies a comprehension of the whole 
pantheon " (p. 20), 


Moreover, it is of interest to remark 
that 2x7 often occurs, as in the phrase 
" the Seven Gods, the Twin-Gods," who 
are the Great Gods of Heaven and Earth 
{pp. 20, 23). 

Also again in the invocations, both in 
high magic and in sorcery, the Twice- 
Seven occur : " Seven are they, Sev-en 
are they, Twice-Seven are they ! " (pp. 38, 

30, 34)' 

But what is the orig^in of this " sacred " 
number ? The old theory of the planets, 
which has done service, without explaining 
anj'thing, for so many centuries, must be 
abandoned, as Zimmem, Roscher, Schiar- 
parelli and Wellhausen, among others, 
have pointed out in different lines of 
research (p. 44). 

One thing is certain that the sacred 
character of the VII, goes back to very 
ancient times, to demonstrably pre-Baby- 
lonian days, for it is found as a common- 
place in Sumerian culture (p. 46). 

Moreover in Babylonian Uterature there 
are frequent groupings of stars (not 


planets), according to the principle of the 
hebdomad (p. 47). 

Hehn, therefore, boldly declares that 
the cult of the planets was not old Baby- 
lonian, and reached its full development 
only in the Alexandrian period (p. 50), 

It is true that the Planet-Gods were 
regarded in later Babylonian times as 
Patrons of the days of the week, but so 
also were other groups of Star-Gods, and 
the Planets were never specialized for 
this purpose. There was something more 
at the back of it aU. What was it ? 

Hehn adopts Roscher's theory (p. 50), 
that the Seven has its origin in the quar- 
tering of the days of the month. 

Just as the Sun-number was 6 or 60, 
factors of the 360 days of the year, not 
counting the odd days, so was the Moon- 
number 7, a fourth of 28, the i^ days, 
to make the proper total 29I, not counting. 
They dealt only with round numbers. 
The Moon was for the Babylonians the 
great time-measurer, the root of their 


THE _ 



With this conclusion I would, with 
all due deference, venture to disagree. 
In this way a seven was found in natural 
phenomena, but was it the origin of the 
VII. If VII. was the Perfect Number in 
very ancient ciilture, as I think Hehn 
has proved, and as we shall see it can be 
shown along many other lines of research, 
then it is far more probable, in my opinion, 
that there was once a numbering by 
sevens, a system of notation where seven 
was the radix, just as we have in Baby- 
lon itself a duodecimal as well as a decimal 
system. But what lay at the back of 
this ? Why was it that VII. completed 
the series ; six, then seven, and then 
begin again ? 

Is it so wild a partial hypothesis {for 
I beUeve still far more was at the back 
of it), that VII. completed or perfected 
the physical or visible, that is, brought 
it into manifestation, that there must 
be 6 before there was any appearance 
here ; that there must be the 6 directions 
complete, before anything could be seen ; 



take away one, and our space is not. JJ^H-mMp 
A three-dimensional thing that has no top, sqng of 
or bottom, etc. , is unthinkable in our space. WISDOM. 

As to " directions," therefore, there 
must be first a Within and a Without, 
and either of these must be measured by 
3 dimensions, 3 pairs, making 6 directions 
in all (up, down, right, left, front, back), 
plus a monad or unity of the 3 or 6. 
Further, there was a 7 Within and a 7 
Without, making in all 7 Twins, male 
and female, positive and negative, etc. 
True we have not yet got at the root of 
the matter, but it is not so difficult to 
see that here we have a i (monad), a 
2 (dyad, twins), and a 3 (triad) ; and 
again the permutations and combinations 
of 3 things taken i at a time, 2 at a time, 
and 3 at a time, or all together, are 7, — 
e.g., a, b, c ; ab, ac, be • abc — according 
to the formula, 2"-i. 

How enormously wide-spread was this 
category of VII , may be seen by turning 
to the index of Gerald Massey's two 
massive volumes, A ncieni Egypt : The 


WMDrac ^*^^ °f *^ World (London, 1907), where 
SONG OF ^^^ references to " seven " occupy two 
WISDOM, columns. The germ of his theory (p. 25) 
is that : 

'* The Ancient Genetrix [the World- 
Mother] was the Mother who brought 
forth Seven Children at a birth, or as a 
companionship, according to the category 
of phenomena. Her Seven Children were 
the Nature-Powers of all mythology. 
They are visibly represented under divers 
types because the Powers were reborn 
in different phenomena." 

This theory he develops with endless 
illustrations, it is the vital side and 
complement of the directions-hypothesis 
that I have indicated ; it is the feminine 
completion of the masculine directions — 
the Virgins and the Pole-lords of the 
Mithriac Ritual. 


But indeed every God, or Divine Power, 
in the Babylonian religion had a special 


number, and the Number was the God ; ISH^„,y- 
and there is little doubt that Pythagoras song OF ' 
derived his mathesis in the first place WISDOM. 
from initiation into the Babylonian mys- 

The Gods were jEons, or Eternities, 
and it is interesting to remark that one 
of the names for a God in t he Babylonian 
language is Igig ; this is probably the 
origin of the term lynx (Gk. lygx, pi. 
lygges) which was discussed at length 
in The Chaldtsan Oracles {ii. 9,ff.)- 

The whole of the Christian Gnostic 
aeonology is based on such Numbers, as 
may be seen from the study " Some 
Outlines of ^onology," in Fragments 
(2nd. ed., pp. 311 Hi.). But we have 
already over-run our space, and cannot 
treat of the 10 and iz, and total, 32 or 33, 
of the whole Pleroma or Dynamic Pan- 
theon, the Modes of the Divine Mind, and 
Powers of the Divine Soul. The rest 
of our space must be given to a few 
necessary Notes. 



The Radiance, Splendour or Resplend- 
ence (Syr. Z7wa, Gk. apaugasma), is the 
Avestan kvareno, or Presence. (Cf. A 
Mithriac Riiual, p. 24.). It is the Light 
of the Kings, the Royal Pair, God and the 
Spirit, or the Sophia Above. 

She, the Sophia Below, or* in manifes- 
tation, is now pure Nature decked with 
spring flowers, Buddhi, the Ground of 
Enlightenment, or Spiritual Soul. 

The " sweet-odour " is the " sweet 
savour " of the Holy Spirit, as Basihdes 
calls it {F. p. 264). 

The King is Atman, the Highest Self ; 
His Home is the Highest Heights, and 
He pours forth His Power into all the 


Members of the Pure or Perfected Body. ^^j^,-,. 

The Pillars are the totality of the Limbs, sqjjq Qp 

and not the vertebral column only (Hoff- wisdom. 

_ The Divine Ichor from the Cup of 
Atman (or Chrism) pours throughout 
her whole economy, and out at her feet, 
into the outer world. 

The Two-and-thirty are a puzzle. Thilo 
suggested that they stand for the teeth. 
This may be so, for in the Naassene 
Document, the Jewish mystic comment- 
ing on the term " Rock " in a verse of 
Homer, writes : 

" The ' Rock ' means Adamas. This 
is the ' Corner-stone ' which ' I insert in 
the foundation of Zion.' 

" By this he (Isaiah) means, allegori- 
cally, the plasm of man. For the Adamas 
who is ' inserted ' is the [inner man, and 
the ' foundations of Zion ' are] the ' teeth ' 
— the ' fence of teeth,' as Homer says — 





the Wall and Palisade in which is the 
inner man, fallen into it from the Primal 
Man the Adamas Above, or [the Stone] 
'cut without hands' cutting it, and 
brought down into the plasm of forget- 
fuhiess, the earthy, clayey [plasm]." 
{H. i. 162). 

This shows that the '* teeth " were 
regarded as symbols of the Pahsade, a 
term used of the Limit of the ^on- 
World in Gnostic tradition. For this sym- 
bohsm, however, the number 30 (which 
is found as a variant reading), would 
perhaps be more appropriate, for the 
Emanation of the limit that shut off 
the jEonic Inmiensities from the im- 
perfect manifested world, in one of the 
most famous variants of the Sophia- 
mythus known to us, comes as a 31st, 
after the completion of 30 (F. pp. 342 If.). 

15 Perhaps instead of *' those {-roti) 
who enter " we should rather read 
"priests (kpok) who enter." 


The Head represents the Holy City, 17 
the Jerusalem Above, and also the Temple, 
or Shrine of the God, that was on top of 
the " Stairway " in the ancient Baby* 
Ionian truncated pyramids (the Mexican 
teocallis). They were pjn-araid-like 
buildings of six stages, of diminishing 
area, on the top of which was the shrine of 
the God. Here again we have our 6 and 
the monad ruling them. 

The jEons were aU paired, male-female 19 
in one, wholenesses ; they were some- 
times figured as set over against one 
another in rows, like the choirs or choruses 
of men and women singers and dancers in 
the Therapeut communities (F. pp. 80 f.). 
But in reality they were all Wliolenesses, 
Two-in-one, called by twin names, such 
as Mind-and-Truth, Word-and-Life, Man- 
and-Church ; they were self-complemen- 
tary and self-sufficient. The manifested 
worlds of separation and opposition arose, 
according to one of the most striking 
Wisdom-myths (F. pp. 335 ff.), through 


, Wisdom, the last of the iEons, separating 

WG OF "herself from her Divine Complement, 
ISDOM. and so falling into the realm of the 

21 The Decad of Fingers are the twice 
Five Great Limbs. Thus in yet another 
Hymn to Wisdom, in The Acts of Thomas, 
we read : 

" Thou Mother of Compassion, come ; 
come Spouse of Him, the Man ; come 
Thou Revealer of the Mj^teries concealed ; 
Thou Mother of the Seven Mansions 
come, who in the Eighth hath found Thy 
Rest ! 

" Come Thou who art the Messenger 
of the Five Holy Limbs — Mind, 
Thought, Reflection, Thinking, Reasoning ; 
commune with those of later birth ! " 

83 The City and the Bride-chamber are 
the same — ^the most secret place. 

In the PisHs Sophia the City is a 
synonym of the Inheritance, it is in the 


Midst of the highest Pleroma {P.S. pp. THE 
52, 198), to it leads the Gate of Life ^g'^of^ 
{p. 292). WISDOM. 

From it, the Supernal Mouth, was born _ 

the Word of Prophecy, when the Secret 
Place was regarded as the within of the 
Head ; and it must be remembered that 
the Gods were all regarded as Heads, 
Spheres, as for instance among the 
Trismegistic Mjfstics. 

See the Sacred Sermon called " The 
Key " {§11} ; 

*' Since Cosmos is a sphere — ^that is 
to say, a head. . . . 

" And head itself moved in a sphere- 
like way — that is to say, as head should 
move — is mind " {H. ii. 148). 

The following Marcosian Ritual of the 
Sacrament of the Illumination of Prophecy 
(Iren. I. xiii. 3) is highly instructive in 
this connection. The Christ as Master 
addresses the Disciple ; 




" I would have thee share in My Grace 
[Glory, Power], since the Father of Wholes 
seeth thy Angel continually before His 
Face [that is, in His Presence]. 

" Now the Place of thy Greatness [that 
is Angel] is in Us. We must be at-oned. 

" First receive from Me and through 
Me My Grace. 

" Make thyself ready as a Bride re- 
ceiving her Bridegroom, in order that 
thou mayest be what I am, and I what 
thou art, 

" Dedicate in thy Bridal Chamber the 
Seed of Light. 

" Take from Me thy Bridegroom, and 
make way for Him, and be made way 
for in Him. 

" Lo ! Grace hath descended upon 
thee ! 

" Open thy mouth and prophesy ! " 

37 The individual consummation of at-one- 

ment was of the same nature as the final 
consummation of the whole scheme of 



salvation. Concerning this we may again JJinnrNr 

tnrn to Irenaeus {I. vii. i), who sums song OF 

up the Valentinian doctrine on this point WISDOM. , 
as follows : 

" Now when the whole [Spiritual] Seed 
[the Sons of God] has been perfected, they 
say that Achamoth [Hachmuth, Sophia], 
their Mother, passes from the Place of the 
Midst and enters within the Pleroma, 
and receives the Saviour as her Bride- 
groom, Him who is the Forthbringing of 
all [the lEons, viz., the Common Fruit Of 
the Pleroma], so that there is Union of the 
Saviour and Sophia, who is Achamoth. 

" And this is the Bridegroom and Bride, 
while the Bride-chamber is the whole 

" The Spiritual [Pneumatici, that is the 
Redeemed or Regenerate], moreover, 
stripping off their [animal or irrational] 
souls [cj. the 'stripping off of the gar- 
ments ' of the Naassene Document (p. 74 
above)], and becoming gnostic spirits [or 




intelligences], entering the Pleroraa, with- 
out the Opposing Powers being able to 
detain or see them, are restored back 
again as Brides to the Angels who sur- 
round the Saviour." 

And again (ibid. 5) : 

" The Spirit aal [Seeds] after they have 
been deemed worthy of perfection are 
restored as Brides to the Angels of the 
Saviour ... to enjoy bliss for ever." 

40 The " Great Ones " {fieynrroMei) might 
perhaps be translated " Grandees," or 

" Satraps." 

45 It is not quite clear what " both " 
refers to, unless to the company [Eg. 
pai4t] of the Bride, both male and female. 

49 " Waste " mystically stands for 

" deficiency." Their food will henceforth 
be " Ambrosia," the "Food of Immortal- 
ity," the Heavenly Manna, the Substance 

of the Pleroma, or Fulness, as set over ^^_ ^ 
against the food of earth, the dehghts of song op" 
the world, the deficiency. But the wisdom 
Gnostics were also ascetics and yogins, and 
knew of the mysteries of the body. Thus 
the Valentinians taught that the "free 
utterance," or perfect expression, of the 
Alone Good can only be manifested by 
the man made perfect. Such an one was 
Jesus. And so we find VaJentinus writ- 
ing to Agathopus {Clem. Alex. Strom, 
III. vii. 59) : 

" It was by his unremitting self-denial 
in all things that Jesus digested divinity ; 
he ate and drank in a peculiar manner 
without any waste. The power of con- 
tinence was so great in him, that his food 
did not decay in him, for he himself was 
without decay " (F. p. 302). 

The " power " referred to by Valen- 
tinus is one of the siddhis (powers) 
mentioned in every treatise on yoga 


HE (mj^tic union) in India, and in the Up- 

DNG OF " aniahads we read that " very little 
)0M. waste " is one of the first signs of " suc- 
cess " in katha-yoga, the physical dis- 
cipline of the art. 

As to the Living Food — in reference 
to the Miracle of the Loaves, the writer 
of the Fourth Gospel puts the following 
/o|os into the mouth of the Master 
{Jok. vi. 27) : 

" Digest not the food that perisheth, 
but the food that abideth unto seonian 
life, which the Son of the Man shall give 
unto you, for on this hath the Father set 
His seal." 

51 Burkitt, in his review of Preuschen, 
translates this line : 

" Which is longed for and thirsted for 
by them who drink it." 

We have already overstepped our space, 

and so must conclude with the hope that ™E 
what has been written may help some of SWG OF 
our readers towards a better xmderstand- WISDOM, 
ing of the " great " Mystery of the Sacred 
Marriage, and therewith to a more vital 
interpretation of " The Wedding-Song 
of Wisdom." 










BT 1390 .M45 t906 V 11 CI 

Tti« wedding-song of wisdofn / 

Stanford University LibrariM 

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